This review paper on the effects of binge drinking on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) provides considerable information on a topic of importance to public health. It clearly indicates that subjects who binge drink, however defined, tend to be at increased risk for hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. These adverse health outcomes are in addition to the well-known effects of binge drinking on drunkenness and many adverse health effects, both acute and chronic, as well as risk from violence and accidents to the drinker and to others.
While the members of the Forum applaud the efforts of the authors to present data on this relation, this paper failed to include many important previous research reports on the topic. Forum member Ian Puddey and others have prepared an extensive summary of many of the key research papers not addressed by the authors of this paper; their remarks are included in the full Forum critique. It describes how many factors, such as not only the amount but the rate at which alcohol is consumed, the type of beverage, whether or not food is being consumed, the prior drinking habits of the subjects, and many other factors can influence the effects of alcoholic beverages on health.
The Forum members conclude that a “comprehensive review” of binge drinking and other drinking patterns of alcohol in relation to the risk of CVD should include all of the available scientific data on the topic to be most useful. Taking into consideration the additional research results described in this critique provides a much better overview of the effects of binge drinking on CVD. The bottom line is that episodic heavy drinking, or binge drinking, has adverse influences on many health outcomes, including the risk of CVD.
Reference: Piano MR, Mazzuco A, Kang M, Phillips SA. Cardiovascular Consequences of Binge Drinking: An Integrative Review with Implications for Advocacy, Policy, and Research. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2017; Pre-publication. doi: 10.1111/acer.13329
For the full critique of this paper by members of the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, please click here.